Seahawks' playoff formula got a little easier to follow with Washington's loss Saturday.
The Seahawks already had really high odds of making the playoffs entering the weekend — 96 percent, via 538.com.
They got a little better on Saturday when Washington lost to Tennessee 25-16, improving to 97 percent. Maybe more relevant, Seattle’s playoff picture also just got a little easier to follow.
Simply put, all Seattle has to do now to make the playoffs is win either of its final two games — Sunday at home against the Chiefs or Dec. 30 at home against Arizona.
Before Saturday, there had been a scenario where if the Seahawks beat Kansas City but lost to Arizona it could have lost a tiebreaker to Washington if Washington won each of its final two games to finish 9-7 (and the reason is that a Seattle loss to KC but win over Arizona would have had Seattle and Washington put into an NFC tiebreaker that would have gone to the strength of victory tiebreaker, which could have favored Washington).
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But Seattle and Washington can’t each finish 9-7 now — Washington fell to 7-8 with Saturday’s loss. There remains the remote chance that Seattle and Washington could each end 8-8 — Washington hosts the Eagles a week from Sunday in the regular season finale — and tiebreakers could again come into play (and there are other scenarios where an 8-8 Seattle team misses the playoffs — basically, the Vikings and Eagles each finishing ahead of them. Minnesota is 7-6-1 entering the weekend and the Eagles 7-7).
But to repeat, what Saturday means is Seattle just needs a win and it is in (and as some on Twitter noted Saturday, that means the only way the Seahawks can miss the playoffs is losing their last three games. Seattle has not lost more than two in a row since Russell Wilson became quarterback in 2012.)
So basically, unless you want to worry about Seattle finishing 8-8 — and it feels like there’s plenty of time to do that later, if need be — that’s about all you need to know about the Seahawks’ playoff hopes.
Washington’s loss also means the Seahawks can clinch the number five seed this weekend with a win against the Chiefs as well as a loss by Minnesota — the Vikings are a six-point favorite at Detroit. The Eagles could also finish 9-7 but Seattle would win tiebreakers with Philly due to a better conference record — Philly can’t finish better than 6-6 in the conference and Seattle can’t finish worse than 7-5.
Seattle had four other scenarios heading into the weekend for clinching the playoffs this week, but another also included a Washington win and then the strength of victory tiebreaker being clinched. That also is now irrelevant.
Two others involved ties, which hardly seems worth worrying about.
The other was a Seattle win and a Minnesota loss.
Washington, meanwhile, is now just about done — 538.com dropped its odds from 11 to 3 following Saturday’s loss. Washington would have had 33 percent odds with a win.